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Who are Reservists and what do they do?

As a reservist, you will play an essential role in supporting the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF). Through this part-time opportunity, you will develop new skills, useful throughout your life and sought after by many employers. Reservists make a difference in their communities, providing security at events, assisting civil authorities, supporting humanitarian aid and responding to natural disasters. With opportunities for education reimbursement, paid vacation days, health and dental coverage, a pension, and much more. As a reservist, you will be expected to attend training nights with your unit as well as one training weekend as minimum per month in order to maintain your soldier skills. Reservists can continue to benefit their communities and assist the CAF in many exciting fields.

Reservists aid in supporting Canadian operations both at home and abroad. In the past, part-time CAF members have kept Canadians safe and secure by:

  • Helping with flood relief efforts in Quebec and Manitoba;
  • Fighting forest fires in Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia;
  • Participating in recovery efforts following ice storms in eastern Canada; and
  • Assisting with hurricane relief efforts in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador.

Reservists are also active in their communities and volunteer with cultural events, parades, festivals and other public events in communities across Canada. Our part-time members may also choose to serve overseas when there are opportunities available.

Interested in a Part-Time Job in your Area? Find a unit near you
Interested in a Part-Time Job in your Area? Find a unit near you
Get New Skills and make Friendships

Get New Skills and make Friendships

We offer part-time jobs in health care, administration, public protection and more! Unlike our full-time positions, these jobs are available by location. Find a unit near you for jobs available in your area.

Get Pay and Benefits

Get Pay and Benefits

Your pay will increase with your skill level and seniority in the Forces. To help you achieve your professional goals, we offer education reimbursements of up to $2000 a year to a max of $8000 for a post-secondary education that will help you advance in your career. On top of great pay and advancement opportunities, you will have access to an excellent benefits package, which includes paid vacation days, health and dental coverage, a pension, and more!

Maintain a Healthy Work/Life Balance

Maintain a Healthy Work/Life Balance

As a reservist, you will typically work one night a week and occasionally participate in weekend training activities or tasks. Many of our members choose to spend their spare time pursuing their education or working another job. On top of a flexible schedule, you may have access to benefits to maximize your personal time including time off and ongoing support programs. Find a unit in your area to talk to a recruiter about benefits available to the different Reserve class types.

Unlock Your Potential

Unlock Your Potential

The CAF will help you to unlock your potential by providing a variety of opportunities for training to gain leadership skills, resourcefulness, and marketable and transferable skills. The Reserve Force also offers many summer job and co-op opportunities, especially for students. For the first four years of your career, you are guaranteed full-time summer employment (FTSE) with the Reserves. Deployments are not mandatory, but there are opportunities if you are interested. There is also the possibility of working full time.

Did you know that reservists work in the Navy, Army and Air Force?

Each unit serves a unique purpose in the defence and security of Canada.

Find out more about what it’s like to work part-time in the CAF


Wherever they serve, Reservists are crucial to mission readiness and mission success: working side-by-side with the Regular Force to protect Canada’s sovereignty and freedom… to help their neighbours cope with a natural disaster… or on humanitarian relief efforts around the world.

The Army, Naval, Air and Health Services Reserves offer dozens of options. Most Reservists serve right in their own communities and keep their current jobs. They choose their own path, and the Forces add the training, the skills, and the confidence to take them as far as they choose to go.

SERGEANT SONYA MARCHAND: I decided to join the Canadian Armed Forces when I was 17 in my last year of high school because I wasn't too sure what I wanted to do with my life – if I wanted to go to university or get some other job. And with the advice of my friend, I joined. I joined the Reserve instead of the Regular Force because I wasn't too sure how much of a commitment I wanted to make to the military, and I just wanted to kind of step into it slowly.

At the core of the Reserve experience is the opportunity to serve Canada part-time without giving up your existing career or your post-secondary studies, and without leaving your hometown, your family, or your friends.

SERGEANT SONYA MARCHAND: When I first joined the Reserve, it’s on a very much part-time basis of one evening a week and the occasional weekend exercise with the Army. It was a very fun thing to do, so we did a lot of out in the field on the weekends, where you cam up your face and your clothing and you would go through drills as well as convoy drills. And then during the week, I would work in the office. I have the option of going on taskings or deployments. It's all up to me.

Reservists serve their neighbours in times of civic emergency – and they serve with their neighbours at weekly or monthly training evenings or weekends… in summer training and major field exercises… and on longer operational deployments, if they choose to accept them.

SAILOR 2ND CLASS ASHTYN BARTLETT: Deciding when you can work or how long you can work is very beneficial for you as an individual because you do have that control and that sense of freedom within it. And that way you can advance as far along as you want. You can do it if you need extra cash or you can do it if you want to travel the world like myself.

Each element brings its own unique dimension to the Reserve experience. Health Services Reservists may deploy with 1 Canadian Field Hospital (Ottawa detachment) or a Field Ambulance depending on their availability. In the Navy, Reservists serve on the crews of Canada’s 12 Maritime Coastal Defence Vessels. And Army and Air Force Reserve members play a vital role in operations around the world.

SERGEANT SONYA MARCHAND: A great benefit about being in the Reserve is if I choose to take a full-time contract, I have full medical and dental benefits and we also pay into a pension now.

In addition to a great salary, benefits, and pension plan, Reservists can qualify for subsidized education and training, gaining valuable skills that they can take back to their civilian career.

SAILOR 1ST CLASS XISSY WANG: I was recruited at University of Manitoba and the recruiter told me about academic reimbursement, which was my invitation in. But I stayed in because of the wonderful people and the work opportunities that I had during my career so far.

SAILOR 3RD CLASS NOUR HOUDEIB: It’s not just work or training, it’s like, you make friends, you get to know people, you enjoy your time, and get to go home and just do your everyday life duties.

For anyone interested in aircraft, life at sea, the Infantry, Artillery, or Armoured Regiments, Health services, or a hands-on, high-tech trade, joining the Primary Reserve begins right in their own community, as they explore the skills and occupations that are in demand at their local regiment, Naval Reserve unit, Air Wing, or Field Ambulance.

Reserve members train just like Regular Force members, taking the same courses from the same world-class instructors as the Forces’ full-time officers, combat troops, technicians, specialists, and support personnel.

All Reserve careers start with basic training. Officer candidates follow the same path, plus additional leadership course work and evaluations.

Occupation training for Reservists is often synchronized with the Regular Force – they’ll study together, do their field exercises together, and meet the same high standards of academic excellence, physical stamina, and military discipline.

Most members of the Primary Reserve choose to serve in their own communities on a part-time, “Class A” schedule, usually one night a week and one weekend a month, for as little as 14 days a year or up to a total of about 50 days per year, depending on which unit they join. But there are opportunities for longer-term service as well. It’s their choice.

“Class B” employment involves service for more than 13 consecutive days, up to periods of several months or even longer. And “Class C” is deployment on operations overseas or service at sea. These deployments typically extend over 6 months or more.

SERGEANT SONYA MARCHAND: I've gone to Afghanistan on deployments, I've gone to London for a military skills competition and I've gone to Tennessee for the Air person Leadership Competition. I'm going to stay in Reserve for my whole career because there's just so many opportunities and I can go anywhere I like and work full-time and receive all the benefits without ever having to transfer to the Regular Force.


Reservists devote part of their time to military duty. They keep Canadians safe by assisting with natural disaster relief, recovery efforts, and much more. With opportunities in military and civilian life, Reservists are the vital link between the CAF and local communities.

As a Reservist, you work for the CAF one evening a week and occasional weekends at locations close to home, along with summer job opportunities and competitive salary and benefits.

You must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, at least 16 years old, and have completed at least Grade 10 (Secondaire IV in Quebec) or equivalent.

As a Reservist, you can join the Navy, the Army, or the Air Force, at a reserve unit near you. Reserve units are in hundreds of communities across Canada.

As a reservist, you will stay and work locally in your community. Should you choose, you can apply to go on a deployment either within Canada or abroad.

The Reserves empower individuals and provide skills that you can utilize for the rest of your life, along with lifelong friendships and unique work experiences.

You can choose from a wide range of occupations within the Army, Navy, and Air Forces; in a wide range of fields like health care, engineering, law, administration, public protection, and more.

Reservists train to the same standard as their Regular force compatriots to be able to be integratable with the Regular Force on deployments and operations, domestic or abroad as required.